I had really low expectations heading into Friday’s game. I couldn’t help it. The Cavs (9-13) entered the evening just 1-10 on the road and man, have they had some stinkers. They haven’t had the greatest track record of getting up for… less than stellar competition. They were blown out by the Hawks, they were never in it against Boston, and hell, even their one road win against the Wizards they needed a 15-point comeback, overtime and 41 points from Kyrie Irving to escape DC with their only road victory.
So when the Cavs were down double digits in the first quarter and my cable went out, I wasn’t really sure how upset I was. Sure, I wanted to watch the game, but the Cavs let Orlando get 17(!!) fastbreak points in the first quarter. This had all the markings of another road stinker and with LeBron and the Heat looming on Saturday, the basketball weekend looked bleak.
But the Cavs persevered. They cut down on their unforced turnovers in the second quarter (which, go figure, helped keep the Magic out of transition) and, despite Mike Brown, turned up their offense. Cleveland shot 63% from the floor the second quarter and they got a 17 point boost from second unit in the period. Oh, and that Kyrie guy added ten points of his own and the Cavs went into halftime trailing by a score of 51-50.
Irving added another 10 of his game-high 31 points in the third, Dion Waiters scored the Cavs’ first 14 points of the fourth and Cleveland’s young guards powered the Cavs’ to a 109-100 victory in Orlando. Rookie-of-the -Year candidate Victor Oladipo stuffed the stat box for Orlando with a 26-5-4-4-3 and Jameer Nelson and Aaron Afflalo each scored 17 for the Magic, who fell to 7-16 on the season.
The Cavs have won five of their last six and look to continue their season long three game win streak tonight when they face the Heat in Miami (gulp). [Read more...]